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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Very good Swedish horror/drama, 22 December 2003

This is a surprisingly good Swedish horror/drama. The basic plot settings are well established in the first episodes. It concerns people who overnight recieves one supernatural power. What makes it interesting is that these people are not your everyday heroes, instead they are people with problems and difficulties to deal with in their ordinary, everyday life. The power they are given corresponds to their needs: A woman who can't get pregnant suddenly can restore life to dead animals and humans, a wife who is beaten by her husband on a regulary basis makes all violence aimed at her reversed, a refugee with a big identity problem can appear as anyone he wants, a webhooker that peforms sexual acts on command is given the power that everyone has to do exactly what she's telling them, a homeless misfit becomes invisible and so on. The world as we know it is about to come to its end, and the forces of good and evil awakens and are born as the two twins Light and Darkness. By making their first choice of how to use their new power, the `unfortunates' also unknowingly decides on which side they will serve as the world is coming to an end. But everything is not as it seems. The series has a very good script that makes full use of its long format. After the first episodes where the basics are set, the story expands with a lot of surprises along the way. One episode - about the training of some members of Darkness forces - reminds me of a modern stage drama and is totally absorbing as such. Other episodes - especially when the action temporary shifts to Scotland in an attempt to find old prophecies in a book written by a woman several hundered years ago - is told in an almost frantic pace and with plenty of chases and shootings. The acting is very good all over, but Eva Röse's riveting performance of Jasmin (the webhooker) and the unknown Omid Khansari (the refugee) must be mentioned. Both characters that they play undergo major changes when the story unfolds, and they manage to portray these as they go along. Add some interesting, modern cinematography and cutting technique and - as mentioned - a very well developed storyline all along and we find something that is both rare, and I my belief, unparallelled in Swedish Television. The series owes a lot to Rod Serling and Stephen King, but manages to revitalize the well-known formula and to give it a very Swedish identity. Sadly it did not get the audience it deserved when it first was shown (fall 03) on television. But it's probably going to get the fame it deserves in the future. (Remember the Prisoner series with Patrick McGoohan for instance). Meanwhile let us all pray for a DVD release with English subtitles, so we can show the rest of the world something interesting in this genre for a change!

Per Lundblad

Hotel (2001)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Check out!, 2 February 2002

This picture doesn't make any sense to me. It's self-aware, indulgent, confusing and quite often boring. The story centers round a dogma-inspired filmcrew that comes to Venice to film a medievial play in its proper settings, using present day Venice as their backdrop. They check into a hotel that is run by vampires, and then the director of the crew is shot. He's not dead though, he's in coma. And in this condition, he is free to travel from room to room and see everything that happens to the rest of his crew. The plot certainly sounds more interesting written down like this, than it actually is. I saw this film at the Gothenburg Film Festival, and had the advantage to have the director Figgis present at the screening. So he could explain a few things to us afterwards. Believe me, when I tell you that we needed it. The filming started with no script. Something director Figgis informed us that he thought was a much more interesting way to make a movie. The actors were given a "structure" and had to improvise and find their own way through the project. Another of Mr Figgis "more interesting" ways of filmmaking, is to use the new improved video technology to shoot it with. It allows him to shoot so much more for him to edit together, because it's so much cheaper, he says. The big problem with this, is that we - the audience - are stuck with a much cheaper image. Personally I don't like this picture quality at all - when it's screened at a cinema.Not to mention all the shots that's out of focus.... The enormous quantity of the material, results in a split screen extravaganza, that shows up to four different going-ons at the same time. This has been handled earlier by several directors, especially Brian DePalma who can use this technique in order to forward a story cinematically. Unfortunately thats not what Mike Figgis is doing here. There are a few good moments in this movie, some of the acting is quite good - in those rare moments when the actors have come up with something to do. And there is a brooding menacing quality to some scenes, that shows you what a good director he really is. (Just watch Internal affairs, for example.) But the next time he decides to make a movie - could someone please give him a screenplay?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
River revisited, 2 September 2001

River revisited

Apocalypse Now Redux sets a new standard among the 'Directors Cut'-versions of old classics that has continued to surface during the last decade. True, most of these versions has been better than the originals – most notably the versions of Blade Runner and The Abyss – but they have been more or less the same movie with a few changes. But when 53 minutes – roughly one third of the running time – of unknown events been added to a familiar story, we are set with a new story. Therefore it's more accurate to regard this as a new movie. And there's no doubt about it, this one is even better then the original. To be more precise, it's 53 minutes better… The inserts are many, but here's a basic rundown of the major events thats new: First of all, the famous scene on the beach where the mad Colonel wipes out an entire village in order to surf there, has been extended with a clever twist: Willard and his crew steals the colonels surf-board as they sneak off with their boat. The colonel is very upset by this, and pursues them with helicopters. The tape recorder in the chopper doesn't play Wagner any more, though. Instead we hear the colonel on a taped message in which he begs them to return his surfboard to him. That's a scene that has been extended. But there are some scenes that we have never seen before at all. One is a follow-up to the scene where the Playboy Playmates drive the soldiers to a frenzy. They find them again further up in the jungle where they have been stranded, and trade diesel to sexual favours in return from them. These scenes are both observant and strong, and seem very logic as a follow up to the earlier scene. But the best new sequence is when Willard and the crew on the boat arrives to a ragged French rubber-plant in the jungle. A few bits of this has been seen before, in the documentary of the making of Apocalypse Now.

This sequence is actually one of the fundaments of the story in the movie. It's quite long, and incorporates several key lines, that are at the core of the story. 'We fight because we fight for our home, for whats been ours for seventy years', says the owner of the plantation. 'You americans, you fight for the worlds biggest nothing', he continues to Willard. There's also a short love affair between Willard and a woman at the plantation. 'Don't you understand theres two of you?' she says to Willard. 'One that loves. And one that hates.' This is one of the key elements to the movie, and adds to our understanding of how and why Willards personality changes as they travel up the river. The ending is much longer. More scenes when Willard confronts Kurtz are added. It doesn't clarify much, though. Sane reasoning and logic has still ceased to exit at the macabre and horrible place at the end of the river. And one of the reasons that I absolutely love this movie is that its narrative and structure follows the dramatic path its characters experience when they travel there.

Per Lundblad

76 out of 96 people found the following review useful:
Travelling to Sullivans country, 21 February 2001

This was the best film I saw in the year 2000. The Cohen brothers have never let me down before, and they certainly didn't this time either.

It's one of those rare movies these days - it's witty, intelligent and vastly entertaining. I left the cinema with a warmth in my heart. Of course, there's lot of Cohen stuff in there - odd characters and peculiar gadgets, well-developed plot and magic camerawork. But no Cohen film is resembling any other Cohen film, if you overlook the general quality of them, of course.

The big surprise for me was that Clooney is so good. But the true master performance in this movie comes from Tim Blake-Nelson. But the rest of the cast is superb too.

A film that is lightweight comedy with a musical touch that evolve it's story round rednecks and old time country music - dripping with wit and intelligence. Thats a very unlikely combination. But it's exactly what this picture is.